HAGERSVILLE— Ely Thomas is still chasing that life long dream of playing for the hometown Six Nations Rebels.
Showing that burning determination Thomas recently showed up on Friday, January 24th at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena for what was his third time trying out for the Rebels.
“I’ve been going to the gym, working out. It feels good to put this (Rebels practice jersey) on. There is nothing like it,” Thomas said. “It would mean everything for me to play. Even for one game.”
Thomas, who used to be a goalie, but is now playing out, spent last year playing for the Six Nations Intermediate 2 team.
“I have a better feel for it as a player rather than a goalie,” Thomas said. “It’s hard to explain but I feel more confident.
In what was the first of a series of tryouts, Rebels coach Dean Hill was satisfied with what he saw on the floor.
“I thought they did okay and that they will get better,” Hill said. “Tonight, we put them through their paces and it was a chance for me to see where everyone is fitness-wise.”
The coaching staff had them going through various intense passing and shooting skills along with running and cardio drills in what was a highly intense first practice.
“The team goal is always to win Founders,” Hill said. “We had a great season last year where we came close but that’s behind us now.”
Hill was, of course, referring to last August when the Rebels fell short by a 16-15 score to the Calgary Shamrocks in the Founders Cup championship game.
“There is always some turnover from year to year,” Hill said. “Everyone brings a different skill set.” When asked about Thomas, Hill stated. “He’s got just as good a chance as anyone. He’s already ahead of those not here. There is an equal opportunity to make the team.”
Also among those hopefuls competing to make an impression is the rugged Kessler Skye who remarkably hasn’t played lacrosse for the last three years or so.
“This is my first time out trying out for juniors,” Skye said. “I have a lot of buddies out here and I’m just hoping to play this summer.” Reflecting on the first tryout Kessler stated, “It was fun. I felt pretty rusty and my conditioning wasn’t bad.”